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Beyond the Bale : December 2011
December 2011 BEYOND THE BALE 26 ON-FARM EverGraze Proof Sites have demonstrated increases of up to 50 per cent in profitability can be achieved while improving environmental management by putting the EverGraze principle of 'Right Plant, Right Place, Right Purpose, Right Management' into action. EverGraze is a national research and extension partnership between AWI, the Future Farm Industries CRC and Meat & Livestock Australia. It has been running for the past six years and aims to deliver more profitable livestock systems and improved catchment health from perennial pasture systems within the high rainfall zone of southern Australia. National EverGraze Extension Leader Kate Sargeant from Victoria Department of Primary Industries said, "EverGraze findings at Hamilton in Victoria have shown it is possible to increase clean wool production in Merino based prime lamb systems by, on average, 40 per cent while reducing supplementary feeding costs and having a positive impact on the environment." The next phase of the program involves education and extension of the on-farm messages to producers. AWI has committed additional funding of $231,150 to ensure more woolgrowers within the high rainfall zone of southern Australia have access to the tools and resources from EverGraze. The additional AWI funding will be delivered over the next two years, above the remaining commitment of $1.1 million. Since inception, EverGraze has seen 3700 producers implementing practice change such as planting lucerne or varying lambing times on their properties. "As EverGraze moves to the delivery phase we are assisting producers in making changes to improve production and natural resource outcomes. We will also be targeting leading producers and advisors to develop whole farm implementation plans for pasture, livestock and grazing systems which achieve environmental, risk management and profitability objectives," Ms Sargeant said. A key aspect of this will be the development of Regional EverGraze Packages which will provide evidence-based recommendations for practices which can be applied to farming systems to address local productivity and environmental issues. Some of these include: Changes to the feedbase -- selection and establishment of the right combination of perennials for the right place for the right purpose. For example, inclusion of lucerne in farming systems has reduced supplementary feeding costs in dry seasons, improved reproductive rates through increased ewe fecundity and reduced groundwater recharge; Implementation of grazing strategies -- for manipulation of pasture composition, persistence, feed supply/demand and ease of management on native and introduced pastures; l Changes to fertiliser use and soil management to meet pasture production targets; l Livestock system changes -- including enterprise selection, lambing/calving times, stocking rates; and l Tactical management of pastures and livestock within the farm system to manipulate feed supply/demand through variable seasons. While extension will be a key focus for the EverGraze program in 2011/12, research will also continue at the Albany, Orange, Chiltern and Tamworth sites. More information: www.evergraze.com.au FAST FACTS l The EverGraze program has demonstrated that substantial increases in profitability can be achieved while improving environmental management. l The next phase of the EverGraze program involves ensuring the on-farm messages are conveyed to producers. lAWI is providing extra funding of $231,150 over the next two years, above the remaining commitment of $1.1 million. Improving prof its and land The EverGraze program aims to deliver more profitable livestock systems and improved catchment health from perennial pasture systems within the high rainfall zone of southern Australia.